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Aspen's Conundrum Hot Springs: 18 Miles and 4 Courses

Marissa D'Orazio's picture

The last mile or so proved to be challenging to say the least. We were tired, and sore, mostly from our packs. I didn’t realize how taxing carrying so much extra weight would be. By this time, the sun was just barely clipping the top of the peaks and I was getting chilly on our breaks, which became more frequent. On our last push through a wooded area, we saw a campsite down below. We were elated. We found the fire permitting campsites which were about 20 minutes away from the hot springs. We hurried down the cliffside and set up camp as the sun pushed out its final rays. We settled in and reveled in the fruits of our laborious climb; caprese salad, pepper crusted tuna steak with wasabi sauce, filet with mushrooms and peppercorn cream sauce, two bottles of wine and coconut, chocolate sweet tooth bars for dessert. Full and satisfied, we strung up our leftovers in a nearby tree to avoid any bear visitors that wanted in on the feast and turned in for the night.

The next morning, we woke up rested and ready to soak in the hot springs. It was about a 30 minute walk from where we camped to the hot springs. We passed conveniently located camping spots right by the hot springs; the only downside is that you can’t have a campfire there. When we finally arrived at the springs, there were five other friendly campers lounging. Soon we had the hot springs to ourselves. What an amazing view! We enjoyed the peaceful reward for our long trek and melted into the water for a good hour and a half before returning back to our campsite, refreshed and relaxed.

Chucks PackChucks Pack

We cooked up as much of the leftover food as we could and shared with some neighbors. We packed up, and strapped our packs back on to our aching shoulders. We didn’t know what to expect on the way home. We wondered if our packs were in fact lighter and if the decline would make the difference we needed to get home in one piece. Thankfully, the hike home treated us kindly. Our packs were lighter and we cut about two hours off our entrance time.

Overall this hike was an A+. It was endurance challenging, punctuated with stunning views, with an amazing reward sandwiched in the middle, and in our case, a reward at the end as well as we shacked up with a local friend at Su Casa for some happy hour, birthday margaritas. -Marissa D'Orazio